The Full Story
...it is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end...
- Ernest Hemingway
Try recalling the first time you thought about 'becoming an adult'; the excitement one feels to finally gain responsibility, the exhilarating awareness of power and being able to take charge, that feeling of purpose. It's stimulating, electrifying and intriguing. It fascinates you with confidence and determination.
The older you become, the confidence in knowing what you believe an 'adult' accomplishes on a day to day basis starts to diminish as you realise and understand the effect and meaning of the word 'responsibilities'. 'Fearless' becomes 'fear' and little things that used to barely affect you, can suddenly become an unbearable weight that can feel heavy and hard to lift.
It starts off small, maybe earning pocket money and choosing wise ways to either spend or save it. Children are exposed to this very early on as a way of understanding the value of money and a lesson in smart ways to go about saving or spending. I remember being given a small amount of coins at the start of the week for the tuck shop at school, back when Freddos were 10p. I would have several piggy banks that I would pop all the coins into, with a plan to save, heaven knows what for! A few years later, I had the opportunity to go to America as one of my friends from school had returned and invited me and my friends along. The catch - we had to buy the flights ourselves: we were 12/13 years old! My friends and I baked cakes and took them to school to sell, gathered unused items from our rooms; toys, unopened presents, things we no longer wanted. I built a little stall in the driveway for passers by to peruse and potentially aid my L.A. flight pot. I remember sitting out in the driveway all day, my mum bringing me a huge bowl of pesto pasta to keep me going. I was so determined, fearless and adamant to prove myself: to prove I could save for something I really wanted.
As you grow older, the stakes get higher, things get more expensive, the cost of living rises and our fearless minds grow weaker and more accustomed to worry and doubt. We obtain a bank account, then a job, then a credit card that what, GIVES YOU FREE MONEY?! But wait, it's not free, you have to pay it off, every month, otherwise it affects your credit score, which may affect obtaining a mortgage, because how could you ever afford to buy a house outright??? And on and on and on and on.
Buying a boat is a BIG responsibility. I think that's a given. Straying from tradition, you may begin to ask yourself, the big fat question. WHY? Why are you doing this? Who are you doing this for? What about your job? What about the life you were alway told was the norm? What will my parents say? What am I doing?
I was brought up in a nice house, went to a nice school in a nice town all very much leading towards a land based life, or at least living on land! My parents made sure I had every opportunity they could hand me. I will be forever grateful for that. Tradition is a funny thing. On one hand, it brings nostalgia and a sense of routine to a person, on the other, it can close your mind to any other possibilities out there. I like to think I have an open mind and I make a huge effort not to close the door on anything or make up my mind too prematurely.
I knew early on in our relationship that Ben had a dream to buy a boat and no matter what it took he would eventually get there. At first, I wasn't sure if it was something I could ever see myself doing. I had rarely been on a boat that wasn't a ferry or maybe a kayak or canoe, but I was always very sporty as a child and loved the outdoors. I was brought up with a love of adventure, going on walking holidays with my family to climb mountains. I'd jump on every opportunity at school to play sport and be part of a team; gymnastics being my main sport growing up.
Hearing Ben talk about sailing, the way his eyes lit up every time he pictured himself on the water, that smile when he talked about it. It mesmerised me and all I wanted to do was jump in head first!
Then lockdown hit. We were both cooped up in a London flat, twiddling our thumbs whilst Ben introduced me to sailing YouTube channels. We'd binge watch them and fantasise having our own boat, doing her up, what we would call her, where we would go etc. The world was our oyster, or at least, once the pandemic was over it could be again...right?!
Flash forward a year, and we're at our very first viewing of a Beneteau Oceanis 34 in Aberdeen - my first time to step foot on a sailboat. It was still being lived in, so stuff was everywhere. It smelt of tobacco and must, decorated with bronze ornaments and sleek teak wood, beer bottles scattered around, books scattered around, tarnished furnishings everywhere, he'd even forgotten to flush the toilet - a proper sailors boat! I loved it though. Amongst all the chaos and clear unreadiness for a viewing, it was homely, and I could just picture us sailing away on our little boat and exploring the world. It did however feel very small. Before we viewed this boat, we were looking around the 33/34ft range thinking this would be a good size to live on for two people, and also down to our pretty small budget we'd spent a while putting together. However, walking around we felt a little too cramped to call a home. We loved the layout though with the rarity of three cabins that was hard to find in the yacht market at that time. Alas, it was not meant to be and we moved on.
For the next few months, we were all over the country with work, moving to a new city almost every week. However, this did allow us to expand our search as so many were situated on the coast. As long as we could view them in the week we were in that city, then we would! At this point we had upped our budget just a little and increased our search to upto 40ft. We actually came across our 'now owned by us' boat, very early on, who at the time was called Saecula, but only having the one forward V-berth cabin, we were anxious to keep looking. We came back to her again and again, however. There was something about her, something inviting and homely about her. She was ALL the way down in Portland, Dorset, nowhere near where we'd be going to, so we had to wait until a point when we were far enough south with a rare two days off from work to make the long journey to view her. And as I'm sure you've figured out, it was worth the drive and the wait.
Visit our YouTube Channel - Sailing Rum Punch - to follow our journey from the beginning. Ep 1 follows our delivery of her from Portland in Dorset all the way to Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex.
View 'The Boat' page to read up on our wonderful boat, Rum Punch and our design intentions!
First time stepping foot on a sailing boat!
Being only 5 ft 2", I was fine to stand up, but Ben's head was touching the ceiling...a sign she was too small for us.